Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Search and Find - Google Search Tips

I have been seeing a lot of great posts that offer Google search tips for for efficient searching.  Some are lists, others a little more.  I often find myself filtering as I read with the education lens.  Would a teacher use this?  What teacher would find this helpful?  Could you teach this to kids?  How would kids remember this?  As a result I decided to write this post. Google search tips pulled together with the educator in mind.

  1. Keep it Simple - with a Google search less is more.  You will get a broader result from a query that is a few words versus a sentence.  So if you find yourself searching using a phrase, try shortening it to one or two words and see how your results change.
  2. Use Quotes - If you are searching for an exact match in your results search using quotation marks in you search.  For example searching "I have a dream" will bring over 17 million results that are the exact wording as you searched.  However, if you search simply I have a dream without quotation marks, you have a broader search that also includes the speech itself, but  other resources bringing the resource list over 222 million hits.
  3. Case  - Search is NOT case sensitive.  It will make no difference if you search New York City or new york city.  Although that pains us as educators, it might make things more efficient for a student who is not so proficient with the shift key.
  4. Search a site - If you know something is found on a specific website but cannot locate the information, Google Search the site!  After your search terms include site: and the name of the website.  for example to find the educator effectiveness section on the WI DPI site you would search educator effectiveness site: dpi.wi.gov
  5. Don't Punctuate - Search will ignore punctuation in your search query.  If you search best coffee house muskego?, you will get the same results as best coffee house muskego.
  6. Find Related Pages - If you have a great page but would like to find another source to check reliability, search for related sites but entering the word related: followed by the website of the address you are looking to find a related site for.
  7. Definitions - Search will find definitions for you!  Search define: and the word you are looking to find a definition for.
  8. Calculate - You might not want to share this one, but if you type any equation into the search bar, Google search will calculate the problem and offer the answer.
  9. Shake it up! - If you teach about earthquakes, each day you share the earthquake activity by getting the US Geological Survey data on recent earthquake activity by typing earthquake in the search bar.
  10. Speak up - Search using the microphone!  In the Google search bar there is a microphone which will allow you to speak your search terms instead of typing the words.  For some students this might be very helpful.  Chromebooks all have microphones built in!
  11. File Type Search - Do a search for a specific file type like a Powerpoint.  Search like this:  your search topic filetype:ppt 

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